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Classic Car Restoration OC: How to restore your Car’s Interior on a Budget

The car exterior is usually the first thing most people think about when considering restoring or repairing a classic car. Most owners give priority to the exterior, because it is the first thing anyone notices. However, the car interior might be just as important and is often neglected due to budget constraints and in favor of the exterior.

Keep in mind that if you are plan on driving your old-timer, you will be spending more time looking at its inside than the outside. This is why you should allocate some of that budget to get the interior bright and shiny as well. And it doesn’t have to cost much too! Our classic car restoration Orange County experts offer some advice on how to restore your car’s interior on a budget.

Plan Your Budget

After you’ve calculated the cost of the restoration project, see how much you can allocate to work on the interior. Not doing so may lead to overspending, as item after item can pile up and exceed the limit before you’re even half way through. This is why it’s important to make a list of all the work that needs to be done on the interior and get an estimate on all the items on that list. If these numbers go over your budget limit, see which corners you can cut. Maybe you can find a cheaper material for the padding or carpeting the floor.

Seat Covers

After years of service the seat covers will probably be the first to show signs of aging. As they age they become weathered and torn. However, padding the entire interior could cost a lot, especially if you want to use high quality materials. On the other hand, seat covers are a significantly less expensive alternative. They can cover the worn out original seats at an affordable price. Seat covers are certainly not a permanent option, but can serve their purpose until you’ve saved up some money to spend on actual interior padding. The same can be said for floor mats. Instead of carpeting the floor of your old-timer, consider getting floor mats at a much lower price as a temporary fix.

Scratches and Stains

Repairing the few scratches and stains on the dashboard or the door panels is a much cheaper alternative than replacing the entire interior. Some scratches or dents might be too much to handle and fixing these problems will not give you a brand new interior, but the inside of your car will certainly look renewed. The same can be applied to the exterior. You don’t have to replace every single damaged piece of the car. Some dents are easily repaired and doing so will cost much less than replacing the whole parts. Fixing some of these parts instead of replacing them might allow you to move some of those funds into the interior remodeling budget.


You can either do the detailing on your own or hire a professional. Detailing won’t cost much, and a professional has access to tools and cleaners that will make the interior look almost as new. However, cleaners like Lexol that you can find anywhere can also do the trick and give new life to old leather.

Do It Yourself

If your budget is really limited, there are a few things you can do on your own and still get the interior worthy of your shiny old-timer. Begin by lubricating the seat mechanisms, as old seats may be difficult to adjust and tend to make unpleasant noises while doing so. Next, cover the dashboard with a vinyl or leather cover and saw back the tears in the seats. All of these are simple fixes that you can handle on your own and that can give your car interior a brand new shine.

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